Singer and songwriter Michael Stipe of R.E.M. once explained that he wrote the lyrics to the hit single "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" as an aggregation of everyday experiences: "The words come from everywhere. I'm extremely aware of everything around me, whether I am in a sleeping state, awake, dream-state, or just in day-to-day life, so that ended up in the song along with a lot of stuff I'd seen when I was flipping TV channels."
If Stipe had been writing a song about the end of the world in 2020, it's at least possible (if perhaps remotely so) that he would have included a reference to the certification program at computer networking titan Cisco, which is on the brink of some top-to-bottom changes that have caused a ripple in the certification world as we know it. The actual end of the world probably won't have a scheduled date, but Cisco is ending (and restarting) its certification world on Feb. 24.
The current Cisco certification pyramid, or tree, or (fill-in-the-blank visual metaphor here) has all kinds of branches (or pyramid layers, or what have you) as the result of a prior reboot from four or five years ago. That's when we got the incumbent regime that has six levels (Entry, Associate, Specialist, Professional, Expert, Architect) and, for example, breaks out CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification across 10 distinct and different specializations.
You can't just get your CCNA: It's going to be either a CCDA, CCNA Cloud, CCNA Collaboration, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Industrial, CCNA Routing & Switching, CCNA Security, CCNA Service Provider, or CCNA Wireless. Or at least that's the way things will be until Feb. 24. After that, there will just be one CCNA. OK, alright, there will be two: CCNA Cyber Ops is going to stick around. Everything else will collapse back into the new solo CCNA credential.
The whole thing is fairly complicated, though there have been some engaging efforts to explain Cisco's thinking. What's super not complicated is that Cisco will honor any existing CCNA credential if you complete your certification exam on or before Feb. 23. There's not a ton of time left, but we're very confident that you can muscle through with the benefit of our excellent CCNA training. It may be the end of Cisco certification as we know it, but you'll feel fine.